Line-Up (excerpt) for the 20th annual Hebridean Celtic Festival, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides of Scotland, 15 – 18 July 2015.
A product of the recent renaissance in Scottish folk music, the Treacherous Orchestra is the ultimate eleven‐piece, pan‐Scottish outfit (with one member from Ireland). It’s an aggregation that came together in the musical melting pot that is Glasgow, a location where the individual musicians first developed a strong affinity for each other’s playing. “Every time this specific crowd of instrumentalists got together” John says, “musical sparks would fly”. This musical empathy, and their passion for high‐energy, innovative and evolving styles of playing, first came to recorded fruition in the exuberant sounds produced on their début album 'Origins' (Navigator) and now fully explored on the new release 'Grind' (Reveal).
Each member of the band brings a strong individual sound and instrumental style to this powerful blending of the old with the new. In addition, many of the group are also gifted composers, producers and engineers in their own right and it is these cumulative talents that set the band apart in terms of forging their own unique interpretation of Scottish music.
Afro Celt Sound System
Sharing a 20th anniversary with HebCelt, prepare to welcome back a firm festival favourite.
When Afro Celt Sound System burst onto the music scene their impact was so instant, so astounding, that it hit like a thunder crack. Here was a band unlike anything else, a band whose fusion of West African rhythms, Irish traditional music and cutting-edge dance grooves battered the senses and unleashed a wellspring of joy and liberation. Festival audiences did a double take then danced like dervishes. Albums flew off the shelves. There were awards. Grammy nominations. Star turns on big film soundtracks.
Afro Celt Sound System were the perfect storm: a phenomenon whose confluence of elements swept you away on a journey of light and shade, delicacy and power. When they added diverse new touches - Indian bhangra, Arabic influences, dub reggae, more - they did so seamlessly, in ways that only enhanced their sound and emphasised their openness. Now approaching their 20th anniversary, and with a new album in the pipeline they remain defiantly, enigmatically uncategorisable.
Le Vent du Nord
Combining a great stage presence with an energetic, dynamic flair, Le Vent du Nord are one of the leading names in Québecois folk music performing original songs inspired from their tradition- a truly fabulous sound!
Le Vent du Nord never fail to delight crowds with their glorious mix of fiddle and foot-tapping, guitar, accordion, piano, bass, hurdy-gurdy and wonderful four part harmonies. The band delivers catchy songs and tunes, some taken from the Québec traditional folk repertoire while others are original compositions. Considered a driving force in progressive folk, Le Vent du Nord captures the energy and mirth of a Saturday night kitchen party, infusing old Québec with a breath of fresh, cosmopolitan air.
The line-up includes singers / multi-instrumentalists Nicolas Boulerice, Simon Beaudry, Olivier Demers, and Réjean Brunet and are now one of the best-loved Québec folk outfits throughout the world. They have racked up many several prestigious awards, including a Grand Prix du Disque Charles Cros, two Junos (Canada’s Grammys) and 'Artist of the Year' at the North American Folk Alliance Annual Gala. In March they will release their 8th album – no doubt following the remarkable success of predecessors including 2012’s ‘Tromper Le Temps’.
On stage Le Vend du Nord know how to deliver music that will move any crowd – to their feet and in their hearts!
Salsa Celtica’s synthesis of Afro Latin Salsa with Scottish and Irish traditional music has taken the band and its music on a remarkable journey, from the village halls of Scotland to some of the most important music festivals around the globe.
A potent blend of virtuosity and energy, Salsa Celtica are now one of the most popular bands on the world music circuit.
Following the release of their 5th studio album, The Tall Islands, in 2014, they made a heroes return to Celtic Connections, embarked on a UK tour and played a debut performance in Colombia – yet another landmark for the Scottish salsa band that made it big in Latin America.
With a reputation for spectacular, high energy gigs, their much anticipated return to a HebCelt stage after a dozen years guarantees that this night is not to be missed.
Acid croft pioneers Shooglenifty kicked off their 25th Anniversary year with a jumping sell-out gig at Glasgow’s Old Fruitmarket this January. Snake-hipped fiddle-toting Highland front man Angus R Grant still rules the roost after a quarter century, but he has been joined centre stage by fiery young mandolinist Ewan MacPherson and 'puirt a beul' vocalist Kaela Rowan. It’s a potent mix that has invigorated a band that still retains four of its original members: Angus, Garry Finlayson on electric and acoustic banjo, Malcolm Crosbie on guitars, and James Mackintosh on percussion. The seventh member is their bass player of over a decade Quee Macarthur.
Shooglenifty’s skill at fusing exquisite traditional sounding tunes to devilishly dirty rhythms is unsurpassed, and, thanks to their globetrotting adventures – they will appear on four different continents this year alone – their rich back catalogue of influences flows from everywhere from Rajasthan to Russia, Borneo to Brisbane, Ghana to Glenfinnan.
The Shoogles are looking forward to a bumper party at HebCelt - the festival’s 20th anniversary and the band’s 25th makes for a doubly special gig. The band will be showcasing their brand new album, The Untied Knot, but, fear not, they will be playing a fine selection from their esteemed back catalogue too.
Jamie Smith's MABON
Jamie Smith's MABON, the international, multi-award winning band, are Britain’s finest performers of original InterCeltic music; Vocals, accordion, fiddle, bouzouki, bass and percussion are subtly exploited by five dazzling musicians, travelling beyond borders to explore the forms and styles of the Celtic traditions and work them anew.
The driving sound of jigs and reels; or a graceful mazurka, an ecstatic muiñera; a haunting Welsh-language love-song or a sing-along, fantasy epic – all are given the same refreshing, creative treatment as the band dances along the borders between Celtic heritage and contemporary sound.
These young, virtuosic musicians are already seasoned veterans of stages across the world; from Cropredy and Cambridge to Celtic Connections; from to the global stages of WOMAD to the Rainforest Festival, Borneo, on UK tours, in huge European festivals and in dozens of countries worldwide – Jamie Smith’s MABON are acclaimed as one of the top 'must see' bands to catch live.
Stand by for infectious, life-affirming music by the spade full!
Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys
With roots in the Great Lakes State of Michigan, Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys have been on the road almost non-stop all over the USA since issuing their 2012 album, Release Your Shrouds.
That recording showcased the band's instrumental ingenuity, Lindsay Lou's stunning vocal range…and self-penned material that has everyone agreeing that they are a bit special.
It's been said there is something to please all tastes in the live performances - real passionate affairs that stir the blood and exhilarate - from bluesy works of wonder to blistering bluegrass beauty. The band certainly has a fresh approach to the American roots genres which are explored and confidently conquered.
The media got excited when they began to release their albums in Europe. “Intoxicating” was how Folkwords summed them up, while Maverick magazine said they played “uplifting rootsy acoustic music of the finest quality.”
This year the band will appear at a string of prestigious UK events including HebCelt and they arrive with a brand new album that is sure to win them even more attention.
Widely recognised as the compelling vocals of Celtic super-group Capercaillie, Karen’s life in the limelight began with her performing as a child in her local village hall on the West coast of Scotland, where she was brought up immersed in the deep well of traditional Gaelic songs that have been her inspiration for over 20 years of recording and performing worldwide.
With Capercaillie, described as: "the most exciting and vibrant band in the field of Celtic music today" (Billboard), Karen has enjoyed a stellar career. Capercaillie have sold more than a million albums , performed in over thirty countries around the world.
As a solo performer, Karen has been involved in various projects of collaboration worldwide including recordings and performances with Algerian singer Idir, Breton singer Dan Ar Braz and Portuguese star Dulce Pontes and award winning BBC series Transatlantic Sessions.
She has produced three acclaimed ‘solo albums – ‘The dreaming Sea’ , ‘Time to fall’ , and ‘Downriver’, a beautiful and simple acoustic affair which provided the perfect platform for the mesmerizing vocal delights that have stunned audiences time after time.
Siobhan Miller is one of the foremost singers in Scotland. Already a two time winner of the 'Scots Singer of the Year' award and a recipient of a 'BBC Young Folk Award' with Orkney’s Jeana Leslie. She has a first class Honours degree in Scottish Music from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Glasgow.
Since graduating she has toured extensively throughout Britain, Europe and America appearing at folk clubs, arts centres and festivals. Siobhan has collaborated with many of Scotland’s top musicians and most recently joined 'Salt House' who released their debut album 'Lay your Dark Low' to great acclaim.
'Flight of Time' her debut solo album was made in collaboration with reputed singer-songwriter James Grant, and marks an exciting new chapter in her career showcasing her songwriting talent.
Photo Credits: (1) HebCelt, (2) Treacherous Orchestra, (5) Salsa Celtica, (6) Shooglenifty, (7) Jamie Smith's MABON , (8) Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys (unknown/website); (3) Afro Celt Sound System, (9) Karen Matheson (by Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup); (4) Le Vent du Nord, (10) Siobhan Miller (by Walkin' Tom).